Redfin on the Bite
  |  First Published: April 2009

Ballarat and district anglers have been rewarded for their efforts in the last month but unfortunately we have to travel far and wide.

Autumn is in full swing and it is one of my favourite fishing times of the year before we head into the winter slumber that shuts down fishing for some but for others it signals a time to rug up and reap the rewards.

Fishing close to Ballarat has basically stopped or gone into recession. With our waters nearly empty anglers have unfortunately given up hope of catching a fish and have been hitting the bitumen to find their fishing fix.

Lake Purrumbete, although not in my reporting area, continues to be a fishing paradise of the south west region of Victoria. Many Ballarat anglers venture down to Camperdown just over an hour away to fish for a variety of species including trout, redfin and quinnat salmon. The anglers have been rewarded with excellent catches, mainly due to the opening of the temporary boat ramp erected on the south western shore of the lake. Once again congratulations to all parties concerned as the general angler was getting very limited in where he could go and fish with the continuing drought.

Ballarat anglers Garry Drew and his brother in law Michael Weedon have spent a few weekends down at Purrumbete, firstly targeting redfin and then the trout. That shows the diversity of the water when you can go and target different species of fish successfully.

The boys were successful chasing the reddies. They fished different locations over the lake using a variety of methods including local live minnow suspended just off the bottom in varying depths from 5-10m of water and casting 3” soft plastic minnows. Two fishing session produced 25 and 19 redfin in varying sizes from 200-750g. The redfin were feeding on minnows from the lake.

The boys went back to Purrumbete the next weekend to target the trout. Garry and Michael fished mudeyes suspended under a bubble float and were very successful catching 11 trout over the weekend. Most were small rainbow trout, which were recently released by fisheries, but Michael managed to catch a brown trout of 1.7kg. This brown was caught in Manifolds Bay at the northern end of the lake.

Purrumbete and its sister lake Bullen Merri, only about 5km away, are normally very good winter fisheries with fish coming in around the edges chasing smelt. At Purrumbete a lot of anglers fish the eastern side of the lake known as the Black Sands or The Quarry casting lures or flyfishing around the shore with smelt patterns or woolly buggers in a variety of colours. Over at Bullen Merri the trout and salmon also come in around the edges chasing smelt that cruise in around shallower water to spawn. It can be very frustrating fishing at times but also very rewarding. Bullen Merri holds some very big, trophy salmon as well as trout over the 5kg mark, which is very tempting to any angler.

Back closer to Ballarat Tullaroop Reservoir just near Maryborough is a very good autumn and winter fishery with trout chasing small baitfish in around the shoreline. Casting lures and flyfishing are two of the more productive methods of catching some of Tullaroop’s trout, which also can be of trophy size.

So there is a Ballarat option out there as the weather cools, but it’s hard for us Ballarat anglers not to head south to Bullen Merri and Purrumbete at the moment, and why wouldn’t you?

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